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Stress and  COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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Thankfully, it isn’t often that we hear about virus outbreaks on a global scale. But with all the talk lately about COVID-19 (commonly referred to as Coronavirus), many of us are finding ourselves increasingly stressed and worried—about our health, the economy, our paychecks or everyday activities that we generally wouldn’t think twice about.

In the face of a challenging situation such as COVID-19, how can we be resilient? In other words, how can we make adjustments for the difficult conditions without putting our lives on hold? Here are a few suggestions for handling the stress from the current situation.

  • Listen to reliable sources. Social media is a better source of entertainment than a source of truth. We are more likely to find reliable information and keep our stress down by seeking advice from medical professionals and organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Make the best of things. Once you know your options and adopt a plan, it’s time to settle in and do life. Choose to make the best of things and accept that there is uncertainty in all times.
  • Resist predicting the future. We all have to live with uncertainty at times because we simply cannot predict the future with full accuracy. Try challenging fortune-telling thoughts by asking, “Do I know for sure that this is true?” And consider what other outcomes could occur. The future is full of possibilities, but our mind often gets stuck on one particular idea.
  • Acknowledge the worries, but don’t let them overtake you. It can be hard to accomplish our greater life goals when we’re constantly distracted by worry.
    • Step 1: Recognize your fearful or anxious thoughts and feelings.
    • Step 2: Allow the fear and anxiety to come and go without seeking to change or even act on them.
    • Step 3: Revisit your worries later when you can address them. Try talking to a friend, journaling about your concerns, or even creating an action plan.
  • Keep doing rewarding activities. In times of high anxiety, we’re more likely to avoid doing things that would otherwise boost our mood. Resilient people take reasonable precautions, but they also accept risks that are out of their control and engage actively in the world as much as they can.

No one wants to get sick or face a challenging recovery—with COVID-19 or any other illness. But worrying about the unknown is not helpful either. Give these strategies a try. They may help you find peace, and maybe even growth, in a time of great uncertainty.

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This post was written by Dr. Russ Morfitt